UAL SU officer under investigation over ‘Stop the Elephant Development’ campaign
A disciplinary investigation has been launched by University of Arts London over a SU Campaigns Officer’s involvement with ‘Stop the Elephant’, a campaign against social cleansing in South London.
The University has accused the SU’s Campaigns Officer, Sahaya James, of opening “a fire door at LCC to allow people to enter the building without permission and without going the security procedures which are mandatory at the College.”
UAL students, including James, organised a sit-in opposing the University’s partnership with property firm, Delancey. The occupation took place at UAL’s London College of Communication (LCC).
In an email to James, UAL confirmed that an investigation would be commenced ‘under the University’s Disciplinary Code for Students’.
Restrictions have been placed on James’ UAL ID card meaning she can only enter the University building at High Holborn and must seek prior permission if she wants to enter any other UAL building.
However, others feel that this is a direct attack on James for her part in the protest and campaign. Shelly Asquith, former NUS VP Welfare, tweeted that UAL management was ‘victimising activists and union reps for standing for the local community’.
Sahaya James told London Student:
“What UAL are doing is deploy intimidation tactics and victimise students for protest, a tried and tested method of clamping down on protest and deterring participation through continuous attempts to threaten and break individuals down. This is utterly shameful behaviour on UAL’s part and directly undermines their repeated commitment to respecting freedom of expression and protecting the right to protest.”
UAL would not comment on James’ individual case, but have released a statement following the planning meeting that was held last week:
“A regeneration scheme of this size is obviously complex and challenging in balancing the needs of different groups. We are aware that some individuals from London College of Communication and the wider University, as well as members of the local community, have raised concerns over the proposed development, particularly in relation to social housing and relocation of local traders.”